December 20, 2018 (Cleveland, OH) - For ten years, University Circle Inc. has operated and supported a network of business owners and community leaders through the Uptown Business Association. Today, this network has announced a new name - the Greater Circle Business Alliance (GCBA) - and a new mission for 2019 and beyond.
Launched in 2008, the Uptown Business Association was formed to promote and support businesses in University Circle and the surrounding neighborhoods. However, as development came to Euclid Avenue and the Uptown project came to fruition, the business association experienced confusion with the identity behind its creation. "It was always intended to be an avenue for business education and networking for all of the greater University Circle neighborhoods," said Ben Williams Jr., GCBA president and manager of Ben's Auto Body Specialists in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood, "But explaining that with the previous name was an uphill battle."
The group's executive committee began an assessment of their goals in early 2018. That process lead them to a new identity and new mission focused on building community rather than just increasing profits. Williams shared, "When we decided to change the name to Greater Circle Business Alliance, a new energy began to develop among the leadership."
Although the Alliance is a membership-based group with annual dues starting at $100, through the longtime support of Citizens Bank, all of their monthly education and business development programs are free for all to attend. Ndeda Letson, Vice President, Community Development Market Manager for Citizens Bank, has always seen the significance of the business alliance. "Citizens Bank knows the impact economic vitality has on a community," said Letson. "We are pleased to further our partnership with a program that continues to connect the dots between business development and a community's quality of life."
The Alliance announced a diverse lineup of programs and workshops for the first quarter of 2019. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of programs that teach business basics, such as accessing capital and business marketing. However, workshops will also educate on topical issues like racial inclusion and medical marijuana in the workplace. The group focuses on reaching businesses in Fairfax, Hough, Buckeye-Shaker, Glenville, Little Italy and University Circle, yet many members are located in Cleveland's east side inner-ring suburbs. Anne Caputo of Middleburg Heights' Magic Marketing & Graphics, shared, "I've been involved with the Alliance since almost the beginning. Many of my customers are located in these neighborhoods and we continue to grow when the community thrives."
"University Circle has always been known as Cleveland's center of culture, healing and learning," said Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc. "and our small businesses are woven into that fabric to help make the neighborhood experience complete. By offering programs like the Greater Circle Business Alliance, we can continue to work together towards economic prosperity and community revitalization for all."
About Greater Circle Business Alliance
The Greater Circle Business Alliance (GCBA) promotes and supports businesses in and around University Circle while enhancing the quality of life for our connected communities.
About University Circle Inc.
University Circle Inc. (UCI) is the community service corporation responsible for developing, serving and advocating for University Circle as a vibrant and complete neighborhood without borders.